As U.S. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations once again surge, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned Sunday that the country may soon enter the “hardest phase” of the pandemic to date.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Getty Images
During a Sunday morning appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Gottlieb, who served as the FDA commissioner from 2017 until April 2019, offered a less rosy analysis of the U.S.’s battle against Covid-19 than has been coming from the White House.
While President Trump has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, Gottlieb suggested otherwise, saying, “we have two or three very hard months ahead of us,” he believes will be “the hardest phase of this pandemic.”
While medical treatments and care have improved, meaning the country can better “preserve life,” Gottlieb said the bad news is that “a lot more people” are going to be infected over the next few months.
Gottlieb, echoing comments from infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci earlier this week, said families should also carefully evaluate the safety of Thanksgiving plans: “If you have people in your family who are vulnerable, it’s advisable to contain and protect them.”
“There’s not going to be an intervention that really thwarts this, short of the ability to get a vaccine,” said Gottlieb, who expects this to happen by “next year,” again, contradicting President Trump who has repeatedly insisted a vaccine will be ready by the end of the year—maybe even by Election Day on Nov. 3.
Gottlieb’s warning follows another concerning surge in coronavirus cases in both the U.S. and Europe. Public health experts have long cautioned about how winter-time, compounding Covid-19 infections with flu infections, could complicate responses to the pandemic. In the U.S., new cases have increased at a rate of 28% over the past 14 days from the two weeks prior, while deaths have increased by 1%. States in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains are struggling to control outbreaks while 23 states report a rise in deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
69,000. That’s the number of new coronavirus cases the U.S. reported on Friday, returning to infection levels that haven’t been seen since late July.